McDonald: My Blackpool side are growing

Blackpool manager Neil McDonald
Blackpool manager Neil McDonald
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Neil McDonald says Blackpool’s dramatic late point at Walsall shows how much his team have developed.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw was a huge improvement on the 4-0 hammering by the Saddlers at Bloomfield Road in August, which left McDonald’s men rock-bottom of League One.

“It shows we are developing,” said the Pool boss. “Walsall gave us a footballing lesson at home.

“They’ve changed their manager (Sean O’Driscoll replaced Dean Smith last month) but it’s the same team, so we have shown we’ve progressed.

“We were willing to roll up our sleeves and defend, then not give in. I think a point away from home against a top team is an excellent point.”

Pool were the better side until Tom Bradshaw’s 67th-minute goal for Walsall and McDonald feels a draw was the least his side deserved.

“I thought in the first half we contained them very well and hit them on the counter-attack,” he said.

“We had some really good chances but didn’t take them, which is always a concern with our past history.

“We conceded a poor goal after defending really well but we stuck at it. We made a few changes, which I think helped change our focus, and we got our rewards.

“You can’t be greedy against one of the better teams in the league, but we showed we could handle the situation and create chances.

“When we went behind we felt a little sorry for ourselves but we kept at it. It’s a point we deserved.”

Loan striker Uche Ikpeazu came off the bench for the final half-hour and caused problems in the run-up to the equaliser.

And McDonald was delighted with the debutant from Watford, saying: “I thought he made a big impact. He put Walsall under pressure by winning a couple of headers.

“It put us on the front foot and made them drop off a bit.

“We created a few really good chances after Uche came on and we managed to take one.”